I’ve never had to do this before and typically I’m not the sincerest person, but I felt this needed to be shared.
In honor of my Grandpa Wilson, who passed away last Saturday afternoon.
My Grandpa was an old school gentleman. He worked hard and knew his neighbors well, helping them out and conversing with them daily as he worked on his garden. He loved his wife and his family, providing for them, but instilling in them what it meant to work. He never paid for what he didn’t have to; I know this because I helped him to straighten out his used nails, hammering out each crooked one until it met his satisfaction and could be used again. He served his country in Korea and came back to start a business, raise a family, and live that dream that so many dreamed of during those days.
Even though his life was representative of that classic American male of his time, one thing that stands out to me is how loving and welcoming he was no matter what sort of people we brought his way. I grew up with a globalized world, with dreams of international travel, and an eye on multiculturalism. When cultures and generations come together they often clash, colliding in big fits of misunderstandings, but with Grandpa this was never so.
When we housed a Chinese exchange student for a little over 6 months, not only did he and Grandpa get along marvelously, but they might have had the strongest relationship out of anyone in our family while he was here. He would head over to their house and spend hours chatting away as many of us did. They were kindred spirits even if they were born worlds and decades apart.
When I was getting ready to get married we kindly asked (he might tell you we forced them) Grandma and Grandpa if they would house my wife’s Swedish grandparents for nearly a month before and after the wedding. Though they came from different cultural backgrounds and there was a fairly strong language barrier, they ended up developing a relationship so memorable that every time I visit Sweden they mention how wonderful a time they had and ask about them. Though his worldwide travel was much more limited than mine, his impact on the world stretched wide.
Grandpa, you were a local legend, I was proud to run into people who knew you and felt your influence seemingly everywhere I went.
I am grateful for every single day you lived on this earth, we were certainly all better off for it.